An MRI on Dez Bryant‘s injured knee revealed patellar tendinitis, according to a source, which should only require rest before the star receiver can return to practice.
Bryant hurt his knee Monday practicing against the Chargers when he slipped coming out of a break. The MRI revealed no major structural damage and provides a much less severe diagnosis than originally feared when Bryant limped off the field. It’s unknown at this time how long Bryant will be out.
Patellar tendinitis is also known as "jumper’s knee," and occurs most frequently in athletes who jump routinely, as Bryant did when he soared into the air to snag a ball in the back of the end zone Saturday.
The Cowboys are short in receiving threats, with Miles Austin and Jason Witten both sidelined. A spleen injury to Witten and a lingering hamstring issue for Austin raised the dependence on Bryant in the passing game. Bryant was one of the few starters not dealing with an injury in training camp, besides missing the end of a practice in Oxnard, Calif., with a sore hamstring.
The receivers finished Saturday’s preseason game healthy against the Chargers, but they couldn’t stay on the field in Monday’s practice against San Diego, as Bryant, Andre Holmes and Donavon Kemp joined the injury list.
Kemp also suffered a knee injury and Holmes left with a sore back. Wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said he knew Holmes’ tight back flared up on him, but he didn’t see what happened to Bryant, who slipped coming out of a break and limped off the field.
“Hopefully it’s not anything too serious,” Robinson said.
Bryant’s been on point with Tony Romo throughout the preseason, making athletic catches routinely, including a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone against the Chargers that was called back for a penalty and ruled out of bounds. Bryant didn’t play much against the Chargers, catching two passes for 15 yards on three targets.
Kevin Ogletree took a majority of the first-team snaps in practice after Bryant’s departure. He said Bryant “became a man” this offseason and preseason with his consistent play.
Ogletree also didn’t see the play that forced Bryant to the sidelines.
“We all know his talents and how hard he works and his determination and drive and competitiveness,” Ogletree said. “You can give a bunch of words to describe his role on the team and how important he is to us. He’s a leader, one of our best players and I’m praying for him. I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s a strong kid.”
The injury to Austin already bumped Ogletree to the starter opposite Bryant. His practice reps increased more when Bryant left Monday.
He said the practices at the end of training camp are essential with the Sept. 5 opener against the Giants looming in a couple weeks.
“It was a great opportunity for myself and some of the other young guys to get some extra practice reps with some unfamiliar corners and secondary’s and defenses,” Ogletree said. “It’s something I think we took advantage of as a group today.”